F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines

Week of:
September 30, 2001
Lite Motif: Diets with a Theme in Mind

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

There have been some silly diet plans published over the years, but none as silly as the new Thematic Diets.

The Alphabet Diet is a 26-day plan restricting the weight watcher to foods whose names begin with a particular letter of the alphabet, beginning with "a" on the first day, "b" on the second, and so on, with abstinence prescribed for the 24th day (or Ex-lax). The Chromatic Diet limits the participant's daily intake to foods of a particular color. The Decibel Diet features noisy foods like Cheetos, celery, fried pork skins, apples, and bagel chips.

The Homeless Diet allows the privileged dieter to see how the other half lives by restricting his menu to the contents of public waste receptacles. This diet should be pursued for short periods only, so as not to put an undue strain on the natural food supply of the true vagrant. The Fodder Diet encourages pet owners to proclaim solidarity with the animal kingdom by getting down on all fours and nibbling on some Meow Mix or inhaling a couple of Gainesburgers.

The Historical Diet appeals to antiquarians, who eagerly accept the stipulation that they eat only foods that nobody eats anymore, foods that have gone the way of tunics and knee breeches: curds and whey, gruel, treacle, pease pudding, and the like. The Detente Diet joins together in one meal foods that have maintained animosity for each other for centuries -- foods, in short, that don't go together. For dinner, one might begin negotiations with a cream of grapefruit soup, achieve a compromise between potato salad and peanut butter, reconcile hot dogs with chocolate sauce, and make peace between ice cream and oyster dressing.

The Berlitz Diet is based on the Platonic premise that weight increase is caused by the idea of food and not by food itself. A person gains weight not because he eats a dozen glazed doughnuts every morning but, rather, because he knows that they are glazed doughnuts, an idea carrying with it the notion of weight increase. Therefore, the practitioner of the Berlitz Diet is allowed to continue eating whatever he is accustomed to eating, provided he refers to it in a foreign language he doesn't understand.

The consumer can maintain his current purchasing habits with the Container Diet. He must, however, reverse his thinking when it comes time for consumption, discarding the contents and instead devouring the packages they came in. He thus retains the satisfaction of purchasing his favorite foods without suffering the unwanted calories acquired by eating them. Though they fail to provide the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and iron, doughnut boxes, Pepsi cartons, butter tubs, and cellophane are presumably low in calories and probably have fewer additives than the foods they contain.

In the Polaroid Diet, photographs of appetizing foods are substituted for their calorie-carrying originals. This diet plan is ideally suited for the glutton in that an 8 X 10 chocolate mousse is no more fattening than a wallet-size one.

An expanded version of this article is available online at www.politickles.com/Bobliography